GIRL FIGHT!

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Well, well, well… It just wouldn’t be a normal second week of school if something insane didn’t happen, right?

Last Tuesday, I was making my daily bathroom stop after lunch when I heard yelling (and lots of expletives too!) coming from down the hall. I instantly recognized the voice of a student who, without being too judgmental, I would expect this from. I raised my voice and told her not to talk like that. She yelled a few more words at another student and then immediately took off chasing her down the hall! Unfortunately, I had thought it would be a good idea to wear these cute strappy sandals with a small heel this day. It was obviously a bad move, since I ended up running (RUNNING! I do not run!) down the hall after this student. When I came around the corner, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

Girl #1 had girl #2 up against a wall, behind a teachers desk, pulling her long hair and throwing punches. It wasn’t long before Girl #2 was doing the same thing. Another teacher and I managed to separate the girls, but it took a few more to actually get them down to the office. As I was walking away, I noticed my hands were shaking. My heart was racing and I was afraid – not for myself, but for these girls, who have so much more going for them than this.

Later I found out that the fight was over a boy, naturally. Girl #1 is supposedly pregnant and she was telling Girl #2 that her boyfriend was the baby’s dad. As I always say, dramatic! A few minutes after everything settled down, one of my coworkers emailed me, “Dramatic! You did great,” so I guess I can safely say that I survived my first girl fight.

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Welcome Back!

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Wow! I did not realize it’s been months since I last posted a blog. Well you see, the springtime got really busy and hectic, what with state testing and, you know, getting married! So, I am no longer “Ms. H” but now “Mrs. J” – yay! I had many hilarious stories and just as many rough times, but very little time to update.

 

So, this week begins my second (!!!) year of teaching – yes, I survived the first! I have a whole new crop of students and a few of the same from last year, too. On the third day of school, I decided to play a game with my students. I planned on bringing the board game “Taboo” from home, but naturally I forgot it in the kitchen. In a rush before the first morning bell rang, I found a similar game online – there’s one word for the class to guess and five words to avoid while describing that word. For example, “Firetruck” was the word to guess, but the words you can’t say were red, fire, hose, siren, and flame. So I had my students come up individually and try to have the class guess their word. My goal is to have the students work on their descriptive skills.

So, during my first class of the day, a (male) student is at my desk and I click for the next card…

Let me just preface what happens next with a small revelation I had. Apparently, in my 8am rush to get the ball rolling, I didn’t realize that this website takes user-created materials. So, for example, I could make my own “taboo” card and upload it to the game for anyone to use.

…the next card comes up on the screen and the teenage boy busts out laughing. I don’t really understand what’s so funny until I look at the screen and see the word CLITORIS in huge red letters across the top. My face instantly turns the color of said letters and I start frantically clicking the mouse until something more appropriate comes up. All this time, the student is hysterically laughing. The only thing I can think to say is, “Umm.. Pretend you didn’t see that!!”

 

Welcome back to school, folks!

Hunger Games… of Paper Copies

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All of my students are so impatiently whining, “Is it Christmas break yet?!” and I’m like, “WORDDD.”

I don’t think they understand how much teachers need a break from school, too.

We (most of us, at least) really love our jobs. We do. But we have to put up with whining students AND demanding paper nazis administrators. No, we can’t run off copies for you, because we are being rationed. Like Peeta and his bread. We are the District 12 of paper copying. May the odds be ever in our favor… but they won’t because we can’t print them out. We have to listen to teenagers moan and groan for 8 hours of the day, and then stay up grading their illegible papers all night. We have to listen to those teens complain endlessly about exams, but we can’t print them a review sheet to study at home. Maybe we can claim tessarae and get our names entered into the drawing more than once? I doubt it though, because then they would have to print out the paper with our names on it. We are living in a modern day Hunger Games where paper copies are like money and bread to us District 12’ers and iPads are forced upon us like the Capitol guards. Maybe I shouldn’t be making that comparison, but sometimes it really feels a little too dystopic for my taste. It’s gotten to the point where people are “stealing” others’ copier ID numbers so that they can run off more copies than they are given without getting reprimanded by the Capitol Guards administrators.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop. I’m starting to sound like my students. Back to my original point – I think we are all in dire need of a break here. So when students express their eagerness for the break, we teachers CAN RELATE.

Dear John Green,

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In the last few weeks, I’ve read The Fault in our Stars, An Abundance of Katherines, Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns. I have also come to the conclusion that I can’t review your books. I can’t even get my thoughts in order enough to make a valid summary. The only thing I can come up with is, “This book is uhh… uhh… UH-MAZING.” I loved them all!

I read TFioS first, and immediately fell in love. It’s true what they say, you’ll cry. I knew I would cry, so I tried to mentally prepare myself as I read along but in the end, I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t a sad cry, or a happy cry either. It was a really fulfilling, emotionally cleansing cry. My fiance came into the room while I was reading the very last few chapters and he freaked out. He said, “What’s wrong?! Why are you crying so much? Are you okay!?!” I just held up my kindle and said “*sniffle* Reading… *sniffle*” and he got the picture. I am in love with Gus and Hazel, almost as much as Macy and Wes, which is really saying something.

Next I read Paper Towns and was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time. I think I finished it in two days (including work, cooking, cleaning, etc.) Once again, amazing. I can’t write a full review without spoilers on this one so I won’t even try. There was a moment in the middle of the story when the three boys get to the abandoned strip mall… I kind of lost it. I had that feeling in my stomach like I knew what they would find and it just pushed me to keep reading. Overall, obsessed with this novel. I’ve already recommended it to my niece and she’s going to love it too.

Then I read Katherines and it’s another one that I’ve recommended to my niece, among others. It was more of a fun, easygoing read than Green’s other novels. I love how descriptive he is with his characters’ words. That feeling of “gutshot” that is felt while suffering from a broken heart is so true and real. Green’s descriptions make his stories very relatable, which is probably one of the main reasons I love his books. Also, I really loved his use of footnotes in this novel. It was a little more difficult on a kindle to go back and find where I was than it would have been in a hard copy, but I thouroughly enjoyed getting more insight into Colin’s thoughts.

Most recently, I read Alaska and I’ll be honest – it wasn’t my favorite. Something about Alaska and her mood swings kind of freaked me out a little. Also, the way Pudge idolizes her drives me a little nuts. I didn’t like the ending very much either – I wanted more answers! I know, I know, that’s the whole point of the ending, but I don’t care. I like solid resolution. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book too, but it wasn’t my favorite.

In short, I am obsessed with John Green and his books. Also, I recently discovered the gold mine known as his website. So many questions answered! Also, so many funny blogs  and vlogs! I’ll share my discovery because I want the world to know and love him as much as I do.

johngreenbooks.com

You’re welcome.

I survived my first FIASCO.

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I have a student in my class who is… how do I even put this gently? A COMPLETE TERROR. He is downright awful every single day. Every. Single. Day. I honestly can’t count the number of “good days” I’ve had with this kid since the beginning of the school year. I have written him up about five (5!!!) times this year (Let me remind you, it’s only November!!) and that’s only for the absolutely horrendous things he does. There are times that I just don’t have the energy to even write out the referral, even though he has deserved it.

So let’s take a stroll down memory lane to the third day of school. Yes, the THIRD day of school, the day that I first contacted this student’s mother. She seemed very optimistic and overall the phone call went well. We thought we had found a way to get through to her son and hopefully get the year going on a better foot. Fast forward a few months to mid-October. I can’t even write all of the awful things this child has said to me for lack of time and, and to be completely honest, energy. I say “child” even though he is a teenager because of the way he acts on a daily basis. I caught him cheating on his iPad, so I sent him to the office with it. He accused me of deleting a project and called his mother, so naturally she wanted to speak with me about it. I called her back and cleared it up and took that time to inform her of some of the other issues I’d been having. She let me know that she would definitely take care of it and that she wanted to set up a parent/teacher conference with me about it. I agreed and said to let me know when she was available.

Did I ever see her? Of course not.

Last week, my Principal told me to write down all of the terrible things he says or does. After three days, I had two full pages of insults, hateful comments, and off the wall things he had been doing and saying. I took my Principal’s advice and called the mother again. She was so angry with her son that she called his father on three-way and told me to tell him what all had been said and done. I barely got past the first word and the two of them were yelling at each other! “Umm… ma’am? sir?” …no response. “Hello?” …still no response. More yelling on their end and more awkward silence on mine. I was so confused because I really couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I knew it wasn’t good. I found that part of the situation extremely funny and so did my coworkers and administrators. I thought everything had been taken care of, but boy was I wrong.

Fast forward another two days, to yesterday. I received a message to call his mother, so I did. I had no clue what to expect, but I thought maybe she was checking on his progress since our last conversation. Nope, wrong again.

She proceeded to yell at me over the phone for twenty minutes about how I am mean to her son and I pick on him. She told me that he wouldn’t lie about it (he obviously did) and she questioned some of my teaching methods. She called me childish and rude and a number of other names, and she basically decided that I’m a liar and her son can do absolutely no wrong. I actually got upset about it and shed a few tears (damn!) but I definitely didn’t let her know that. After talking to my Principal about it, he told me to stop calling/taking calls from her and that he would handle it from here. Now the student isn’t allowed in my classroom, but instead has to work by himself in the library.

I keep remembering something that the mother said yesterday, and actually every time we have talked. Each time we had a conversation, she said that she felt like it was time to take her child to a different school district. Naturally, when I heard this, I thought “HALLELUJAH!!!” but as soon as I walked in today, I saw him. Damn my luck. Although I guess it is pretty amazing that I don’t have to deal with him anymore.

I may have ended up with a few emotional bumps and bruises, but I survived my first confrontation (fiasco) with a parent! It wasn’t fun, but MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

eleanor & park

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OH my, my. What a beautiful, heartbreaking novel. I recently finished John Green’s The Fault in our Stars (still haven’t brought myself to write a review on that masterpiece) so this one didn’t tug at the heartstrings like I thought it would. I really enjoyed the plot, for the most part. At first I didn’t like the way Eleanor is always so moody (GOD park!) but later I realized that it had something to do with her traumatic past and how she is constantly walking on eggshells in her own house. Can we stop for a minute and discuss how AWFUL her mother should feel? Letting that piece of shit Richie run the roost? I really can’t stand that guy! I really don’t like that I feel like Richie may have sexually abused the kids. Certain details made me feel like the kids were victims of molestation. For example, Maisie sitting on his lap, the kids reverting back to childish things like wetting the bed – these are all real life signs of that kind of thing happening. (Dear Rainbow Rowell, if you did that on purpose – NICE!) So anyway, I always felt sort of uncomfortable when she was in the house. I absolutely loved Park’s house and his family. The author set it up so perfectly, that I completely relate and understand why Eleanor liked to be there. I love that it never got inappropriate – these kids are only sixteen people! But I definitely felt the love these two shared. I’m not gonna lie though, when I first read the very end, I was a little confused. Three words? What three words? Then it clicked… and I was really happy. There’s hope for Park & Eleanor! 

 

Overall, I enjoyed the novel, but I do think it’s getting a little bit more hype than necessary. As I said, I just recently finished a John Green novel, so it’s hard for anything else to compare. 

 

 

Fictional Boyfriends

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How do I even begin this post? I’m about to confess a secret that I’ve kept for as long as I can remember. 

I am convinced that I am not alone in this, but it still feels like I’m revealing this huge thing. Okay, here we go. Okay, we can do this… I am no longer in denial. Here it is: when I read a good book and the main boy character totally makes me swoon, I sort of develop a serious crush on him. Like I said, I am absolutely convinced that I am not alone in this affection for fictional characters. So I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorites so that those who are still too afraid to admit to their love can join in on mine. 

 

Number-one-most-amazing-all-time-favorite-fictional boyfriend: Wes Baker – Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever

Now, my supercrush on Wes mayyy have something to do with the fact that this is one of my all-time-favorite books… ever. I am absolutely in love with Wes Baker (sorry, fiance!) I even want to name one of my children Weston… partially so I can call him Wes. Okay, that’s not entirely true, I just love the name Weston. But honestly, what’s not to like about him?? He’s sarcastic and witty, he takes care of his younger brother (cute!) and he’s absolutely gorgeous! I seriously can’t find anything wrong with Wes. Nothing.  I like how he and Macy started off as co-workers, then became friends, and then (finally) fell in love! “sa-woon!” So if I had to pick one (just one?) fictional boyfriend to be with for all of literary eternity, then I would SO pick Wes Baker.

 

#2: Augustus Waters – John Green’s The Fault in our Stars

This may be partially due to the fact that I just finished this book (still trying to come to terms with it all!!!) and the fact that I’ve always gone for the sarcastic goofy guys. And really, the most attractive thing about Augustus Waters… is his vocabulary. I love a guy who can string together a bunch of words and make them sound nothing short of beautiful. I mean let’s be honest here – right off the bat we know Gus is someone we will fall in literary love with. There’s something so genuine and caring about Gus that I just can’t get past. I just love his friendship with Isaac and how they turn their bad situations into jokes and keep each other on their toes. Hazel and Gus – don’t even get me started… I love everything about their relationship… except the cancer of course. I know this is a fatal flaw of a writer, but I just can’t even form words to describe how I feel about these two. Gus goes out of his way for Hazel, to make her feel like “enough” and to show her how much he cares about her. He’s just really really great. “Okay? Okay.”

 

#3 Sutter Keely – Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now

I don’t know if it’s his constant drunkenness, or the fact that he’s portrayed in a movie by my favorite goofy hottie, Miles Teller, but there’s something about Sutter Keely that I’m head over heels in literary love with. He is in his own little world half the time and doesn’t realize what a hot mess he is. I like that even though the story is told from his POV, the reader can still see how completely messed up Sutter is. I feel like he always has the best intentions, even when he doesn’t. He starts hanging out with sweet, innocent Aimee to pass the time. He doesn’t mean to fall in love, but he does. He’s so off kilter and strange that it makes you want to understand more about him. Sutter Keely makes really awful situations into jokes and even though that doesn’t make them better, or even okay, it makes them bearable. Neglect and abuse are masked as independence and love. Seeing it through Sutter’s eyes gives the reader the opportunity to accept things for what they are. He is the life of the party. He makes you happy and he makes you want to dance and just HAVE FUN. This story, and Sutter Keely himself are just so heartbreakingly beautiful… and absolutely real. 

#4 Jase Garrett – Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life, Next Door

He’s just SO SWEET. I seriously want a Jase Garrett of my own. Can I just have one? He is so great with his little brother, George and just makes you swoon. Really, it does. First of all, he’s super handsome, which is always a plus. He likes to fix things! He’s always working on a car or a lawn mower, or something that isn’t even really broken but could probably be better. He is such a family guy – the Garretts are a huge family and he takes such great care of his younger (and some older) siblings. He’s seriously “the nicest guy on the planet” and I want one of my own! I love that Sam becomes his number one. His family completely accepts her and loves her as their own simply because Jase loves her. If she’s good enough for him, she’s good enough for his family. Simple, sweet, and very very lovable. Yea, I definitely need a Jase Garrett. 

 

 

Since I am always always reading, I’m absolutely positive that this list will grow.